Biden to meet Central America leaders about child migrant wave

RANCHO MIRAGE Calif. Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:37pm EDT

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves at the end of a speech to students, young activists and officials at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest May 21, 2014.  REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves at the end of a speech to students, young activists and officials at Cotroceni presidential palace in Bucharest May 21, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Bogdan Cristel

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RANCHO MIRAGE Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will go to Guatemala on Friday to meet Central American leaders about the influx of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the United States, senior administration officials said on Sunday.

Biden is adding the stop to an already scheduled trip to Brazil, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

Biden will meet the presidents of Guatemala and El Salvador as well as a senior government official from Honduras to follow up on the Obama administration's efforts to discourage parents in those countries from sending their children on dangerous trips to the United States.

Between October and May, more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, have crossed into the United States, nearly double the number in the previous 12 months, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told a news conference in Washington last week.

The U.S. government is making available facilities, including three military bases, to house the children.

Johnson made clear that the children would not qualify to stay in the United States as part of immigration reform efforts before the U.S. Congress and said those apprehended at the border would be priorities for removal.

U.S. officials said Biden would reiterate that message in an effort to discourage parents from putting their children in the hands of smugglers.

"It's not worth subjecting children to a perilous journey when at the end of the day there's no light at the end of the tunnel," one official told reporters on a conference call.

Biden would also talk about ways that the United States can enhance its support for the affected countries. Violence and a lack of economic opportunity were contributing largely to the problem, the officials said.

Biden was likely to address the issue of Iraq publicly in the coming days, an official said, indicating that would happen during the trip. He did not give further details.

President Barack Obama is expected to decide soon whether to authorize U.S. air strikes to stem an insurgency in the country.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Jim Loney and Dan Grebler)

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Comments (6)
JaylikeBirdz wrote:
So.. he’s actually talking directly with people who can actually help solve the problem at the source? No threats, bombast, xenophobia, nationalist sabre-rattling? Why, what an adult and possibly useful way of dealing with situations. Who would have thought this was possible?

Anyway Univision needs a better halftime show. This is what I am reduced to. Hey, Bosnia still has a chance.

Jun 15, 2014 6:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bill1212 wrote:
Biden does not even know what day it is, lol. Obama and Hillary just want those illegal immigrants old enough to vote,and of course they need an escort old enough to escort them to the local welfare office!

Jun 15, 2014 7:56pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:
Stop talking close the borders to illegals now. The incompetence of the Obama administration is sickening.

Jun 15, 2014 8:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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